Latvia will host new NATO northern headquarters from 2019

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Latvia will be the location for a newly-agreed NATO headquarters covering northern Europe, Latvia's Ministry of Defense confirmed July 12 following a July 11 signing ceremony at the NATO summit taking place in Brussels.

Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis and the Danish, Estonian, Canadian, British and Lithuanian Defense Ministers signed a letter of intent on the establishment of what will be called the Multinational Division Headquarters North.

"I am grateful to Denmark for its initial intention and contribution, and I am grateful for the work started to successfully deploy the Multinational Division Headquarters North in Ādaži," said Bergmanis. 

"The establishment of a divisional headquarters in Latvia will strengthen NATO collective defense and clearly demonstrate the support of the Alliance in promoting European security," he added.

Though initially involving only the states participating in the signing ceremony, the new headquarters will also be open to other allies and according to the letter of intent it will be established in 2019 with responsibility for planning and coordinating the defense of the Baltic region, organization and implementation of military training and other activities in order to increase the interoperability of the participating countries and the ability to jointly perform defense tasks.

"The Multinational Division Headquarters North will be efficient and combat-capable command unit, which will ensure joint command over division-size units, including units of the headquarters' framework nations and NATO's enhanced Forward Presence battlegroups currently deployed in the Baltic States. Division command will be comprised of officers from all framework countries – Denmark, Latvia and Estonia. Headquarters may be expanded with officers of other interested framework countries," a statement from the Defense Ministry said.

The divisional headquarters command will be located in Ādaži, Latvia and Karup, Denmark.

More than 300 soldiers will serve in the divisional headquarters, which will be run on similar lines to the already existing Headquarters Multinational Division North East located in Elblag, Poland.

Latvia will provide officers and administrative staff for the headquarters, as well as the Adazi base infrastructure necessary for its operation.

"Establishment of Division headquarters in Latvia is a clear political signal from NATO Allies. It not only shows that allies are ready to enhance support for European security, but also confirms their commitment to get more engaged in reinforcing collective defence and provide more efficient military response as part of its long-term aspirations for greater readiness and capacity of NATO Member States to defend themselves," the ministry said.

Bergmanis on July 12 signed another memorandum of understanding, too, on the joint purchase of ammunition.

Along with Ministers of Defense of Belgium, Denmark, France, Estonia, Italy, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Germany, as well as non-NATO Austrian and Finnish defense ministers, the memorandum of understanding should lead to common procurement of land-based munitions, with Belgium as the lead country to provide the necessary legal framework for the countries concerned to jointly purchase and store various types of land-based ammunition.

In related news, Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis declared himself satisfied with progress made during the first day of the two-day NATO summit.

"In general, the meeting of NATO Heads of State and Government in Brussels can already be considered successful, since the decisions made make NATO even stronger and make our region even better protected. They will further enhance NATO's ability to respond to a crisis and further strengthen NATO's presence in our region," said Vējonis.


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